Poggiali on course for 125 title in Rio

Published: 01 November 2001

MANUEL POGGIALI looks odds-on to win the world 125 championship in Rio on Saturday despite suffering a scare in Friday afternoon's final qualifying session.

The 18-year-old Gilera rider only needs to finish 13th in the final round to win the title, but the pressure seemed to be getting to him slightly when he crashed just over a minute from the end of today's session.

It had little impact though as he walked away uninjured and still qualified in fifth place, and needing only that 13th tomorrow, it will take a disaster to stop him.

"I lost the front end but luckily I'm ok. Fifth on the grid is not too bad, "said Poggiali.

The only man who can deny Poggiali is Japan's Youichi Ui and he is trying everything in his armoury to snatch the crown.

He claimed pole position in Rio with a best time of 1.58.67 which was the fastest ever motorcycle lap of the Nelson Piquet circuit.

But he knows anything less than a win tomorrow won't be good enough and he'll really need Poggiali to tumble out.

Second place went to revelation of the weekend Andrea Ballerini, standing in for Gaspare Caffiero, but he was still 0.4s back.

Honda team-mates Daniel Pedrosa and Toni Elias complete the front row.